Church Security Team Training
Is a Church Security Team a new idea?
“But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat”. Nehemiah 4:9
Appointing a Church Security Team may seem a daunting task. However, the signs of the times indicate this is becoming more and more a necessity. We must not dismiss threats nor arrogantly assume God will protect us. Neither are we to cower in fear and beg God’s indulgence. We are called to use wisdom in this world of very real threats. Like Nehemiah, meet that threat. Be proactive.
To put together a full-force Church Security Team requires professional training. We offer a hands-on one-day training program.
To do it yourself, here are the areas that need to be delineated:
Designate a few of those capable watchmen as your Church Security Team. Then begin to set your standards. Remember, the focus is on prevention.
Roles and Responsibilities:
What are the responsibilities of the Church Security Team and each of its members? Each church will need to decide this for themselves. The responsibilities must include:
#1 Authority to Observe and Report.
Look for unfamiliar people who are roaming and canvassing, rather than partaking and interacting. Offer assistance, and notice the reaction. Make note. Look for unfamiliar behaviors in those people you both know and do not know. Stay alert and aware. Engage the person if possible. You may find it is simply a person who is in need of individual prayer, having had an unusually difficult week. Make note.
#2 Getting assistance when needed.
Learn the difference between a need to call for care ministry and a need to call the police.
This is not always simple. Most of us are aware of the obvious calls: theft, assault, threats to self or other. Actions which break the law require intervention by the police. In some states, that includes possession of a firearm. In other states, it does not. Be aware of your state laws.
On the other hand, people are fragile and their emotions can be unpredictable. Crisis situations do occur, especially within the church body. Know what to look for. Irrational thinking, extreme behaviors, casual or subtle threats against themselves or against others… all can indicate potential security threats. Drugs, alcohol, and stress can trigger behaviors which are potentially harmful. Know who is authorized to assist in this area of emotional care such as a Church Counselor or Care Ministry Leader, preferably of the same gender as the person.
Assist the person in finding the person who can appropriately help them. Stay aware of the potential need to intervene.
While there are many other factors to consider in this area, we cannot outline hours of training here. This represents the basic diligences required of a Church Security Team member.
#3 Make an attempt to form a good working relationship with your local law enforcement officers and EMS personnel.
Your work will be easier if you do. When in doubt, call the professionals. Make sure their numbers (not 9-1-1) are programmed into your cell phones. Chances are you will not have the time to go find their numbers. Remember, they are here to serve and protect. Thank them.
#4 Know when and how to properly restrain a person.
Yes, there are correct and incorrect ways to restrain a person. A correct way minimizes injury to both you and to the person being restrained.
Although few and far between, occasionally the need to restrain a person does arise. Most commonly, this occurs when one person is attempting to harm another person. Do not stand in the middle! That will not secure the threat! It will only make you the target, and once you are down, the threat continues.
Find a person in your congregation who is qualified to teach your team how to restrain a person. If you do not have a qualified person, contact your local law enforcement agency. They should be able to direct you appropriately. We too are available to assist you in locating, or implementing, this training.
#5 Know your legal responsibilities and liabilities.
This too is relative to your state and locality. If the information is unavailable from within your congregation, contact your local law enforcement. Again, we are willing to help you in this as well.
Knowing and following state and local protocol may keep you out of court. It will surely act in your favor if you are brought to court.
Some issues that fall into the category of knowing legal responsibilities are:
Searching a person
Know when and how to perform these tasks.
#6 Know how to write an effective report based on what you observed, and on what actions were taken.
This will protect your assets. It demonstrates diligence. We can assist you with this.
#7 The Security Team must know the emergency plan.